Two held in slaying of policeman during drug sting
Drug trafficking suspects surrender in Surat Thani, funeral for fallen officer in Nakhon Si Thammarat
published : 29 Jun 2019 at 15:58
SURAT THANI: Two men accused of killing a policeman by driving over him during a drug sting that went wrong on Thursday night have surrendered to police in Phrasaeng district of Surat Thani province.
The development came as the body of the slain officer — whose policeman father also died on duty before he was born — was taken to his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat for bathing rites on Saturday.
Surachate Wanluea, 24, escorted by his relatives, turned himself in to Pol Col Dussadee Hiranrat, chief of the Phrasaeng district police station, on Friday after police intensified the hunt for him and another suspect.
Officers said Mr Surachate denied firing shots at police who tried to arrest him, but admitted he drove a car over one of the officers as he tried to escape. However, he lost control of the vehicle, which plunged into a roadside ditch.
Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, the Surat Thani police chief, said Mr Surachate insisted he had not intended to hit the officer.
The incident occurred on an uphill road in Ban Pak Suad village of tambon Phrasaeng in Ban Ta Khun district about 9pm, when a team of undercover police were taking delivery of drugs from one of two suspected traffickers who had arrived in a silver Honda City sedan.
As police moved in to arrest them, the driver in the car fired gunshots at the officers. Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit Buakaeo, a 46-year-old native of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, was hit and fell to the ground.
The gunman, alleged to be Mr Surachate, then drove the car over the fallen policeman before fleeing the scene with his accomplice, officers said.
The second suspect, Wanchai Chainarong, 28, surrendered to local police on Friday in Phrasaeng district.
Former village head Charoen Muenintor contacted Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, the Surat Thani police chief, to arrange the surrender of Mr Wanchai, who was his nephew. The suspect had fled to take refuge at a temple, about 5 kilometres from the scene of the attack.
Police and forensic officers on Friday examine the scene of the failed drug sting where a policeman was kiled in Ban Ta Khun district of Surat Thani on Thursday night. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
The Surat Thani provincial court on Friday issued warrants for the arrest of Mr Surachate and Mr Wanchai for colluding in the murder of a police officer on duty, obstructing officers, possessing illicit drugs with intent to sell, illegal possession of firearms and carrying them in a public place.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiart Srivorakhan flew to Surat Thani on Friday to interrogate Chakkraphat Na Thalang, another accused member of the same drug gang who was arrested earlier.
Pol Gen Chalermkiart, representing the Royal Thai Police Office, donated 375,000 baht to the children of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit.
The officer and his wife On-anong Buakaeo had two sons. Ronkarit is a first-year law student and Krittaporn is in Mathayom Suksa 5.
The RTPO is preparing to give another 2.5 million baht to the officer’s family, and to posthumously promote Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit to the rank of police major and recruit one of his children to the force.
Pol Lt Gen Pongwut Pongsri, chief of Provincial Police Region 8, led senior officers to attend the bathing rite for the fallen officer in Phibun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday.
A royally sponsored cremation ceremony for the officer will be held at Wat Srimaram in Phibun district.
Sopha Buakaeo, 75, the mother of the dead officer, said she was deeply saddened by the loss of her son. However, she said she was also proud that he died on duty. His father, a former police officer, also died on duty before Poonkrit and his twin brother were born, she said.
Senior police officers attend a bathing rite for Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit Buakaeo in his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday.
Pol Lt Gen Pongwut Pongsri, chief of Provincial Police Region 8, offers his condolences to the family of the officer who died on duty. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)